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Mirra Andreeva, 16, Continues Paris Breakthrough

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Number crunching is homework for Mirra Andreeva.

When the 16-year-old Andreeva isn't busy deconstructing opponents, she's studying for her online high school program.

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Playing from the heart in Paris, math geek Andreeva continues to post impressive digits her Roland Garros debut.

Andreeva required just 56 minutes to carve up American veteran Alison Riske-Amritraj 6-2, 6-1 for her maiden major main-draw win in her Roland Garros opener.

Andreeva converted five of six break points in a coming of age performance that vaults her into a second-round showdown vs. French wild card Diane Parry.

The teenager has not surrendered a set and permitted just 20 games in four tournament victories, including three qualifying wins.

"Of course, it feels amazing for me," Andreeva said. "I'm really excited that I managed to win this match after passing quallies draw. So, of course, I'm really happy, and I'm looking forward to playing next round."

How has the teenager, who played Australian Open juniors just four months ago, made such smooth passage in Paris?

Andreeva says forgetting the game plan from her coaches and playing purely on feel is the secret to her success.

"I am just doing what I feel is right to do on the court," Andreeva said. "Honestly, when we talk with my coaches about the plan for the match, I think about it just right before the match, but then I forget all the stuff, and I just play as I feel, and that's it."

Emotions will run high when Mirra Andreeva's older sister, 18-year-old lucky loser Erika Andreeva, faces American wild card Emma Navarro later today.

Watching big sister play spikes nerves in herself, Mirra Andreeva admitted.

"Maybe I will watch my sister if she will not play too late, but if she will play late, then I will just watch live translation, and that's it," Mirra Andreeva said. "But, of course, I will support her."

At the Mutua Madrid Open earlier this spring, a then 15-year-old Mirra Andreeva became the third youngest woman in WTA history to win a match in a 1000 level tournament when she stunned 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez in her opener. Andreeva went on to upset Top 20 players Beatriz Haddad Maia and Magda Linette before suffering a crushing straight-sets loss to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka that has her hungry for a rematch.

"Honestly, she kicked my ass. I'm sorry, but she really did," Andreeva said of Sabalenka. "At that time I didn't really have time to think between the points and during the points because she was playing really fast. So maybe I could just maybe change rhythm more, but it was a good match for me.

"t was a good experience even though I won just four games, but I guess it was a good lesson if I'm here now. Maybe if I will play her, then I can take revenge. Who knows?"

Andreeva cites former world No. 1 Andy Murray and Tunisian magician Ons Jabeur as her tennis inspirations. In fact, she's exchanged texts with former French Open finalist Murray.

"I met [Ons Jabeur] a couple of times here. We just say hi to each other, and that's it, yet," Andreeva said. "Just for this moment. I hope it will change. Maybe we can hit sometime.

"But I didn't see Andy Murray since Madrid because he is not here, but after he won a challenger, I texted him (laughing).

"I said, Congratulations. He actually answered me, so I was really happy about it. He said, Thank you, and good luck in Roland Garros. Maybe that's why I'm playing that good now."

Photo credit: Robert Prange/Getty